CREC to close high school, cancels its new construction - WFSB 3 Connecticut

CREC to close high school, cancels its new construction

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CREC said it will close the Two Rivers Magnet High School in Hartford and merge its students with a school in New Britain. (WFSB photo) CREC said it will close the Two Rivers Magnet High School in Hartford and merge its students with a school in New Britain. (WFSB photo)
HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -

Education officials have decided to close a high school and cancel the construction of its replacement.

The Capitol Region Education Council, or CREC, blamed the state's budget crisis. The organization said in consultation with the state Department of Education and Department of Administrative Services, CREC decided to cancel the construction of the new Two Rivers Magnet High School that was planned to be built in Bloomfield after the state pulled the plug. 

Also, the current Two Rivers High School in Hartford will close.

Its 300 students will merge with the CREC Academy of Science and Innovation in New Britain.

"We had to make a tough choice during a very tough budget season," Greg J. Florio, who is the CREC executive director said in a statement on Friday. "Although consolidating the two schools is not the road we envisioned, it is the most-cost effective way of addressing these budgetary challenges without hurting the quality of education that CREC proudly provides.” 

CREC said the consolidation will happen for the 2017-2018 academic year. The Hartford students will start in New Britain this fall. Some staff will be hired, but there could also be layoffs.

Two Rivers principal Robert McCain will assume the role of principal at the Academy of Science and Innovation.

“Both Two Rivers Magnet High School and Academy of Science and Innovation have strong programs in science, technology, engineering and math; and our students will continue to benefit from a rigorous and dynamic academic curriculum," Florio said.

Barbara Valdes just found out the school her daughter goes to is closing. Melanie will be graduating this year from Two Rivers in Hartford, which is a magnet school where Melanie has thrived. In October, she won an award for teaching music to autistic children.

"She took it really hard. She cried a lot last night,” Valdes said. “She was really upset."

State Rep. Angel Arce, who represents Hartford, said he didn't know anything about this closure. 

"They get a lot of money from the state. When they want something, they come looking for us," Arce said. "Yet, no one could tell us they were going to close the school."

Gov. Dannel Malloy's budget proposal, which was unveiled last month, includes millions of dollars worth of cuts. The state is expected to face a $1.7 billion shortfall for the fiscal year that starts in July.

Parent  said whatever the budget problems were, the ones affected were the children. 

"It's not just about moving kids from one facility to the next. There's a lot more here,” Valdes said. “These are tough years. Teenagers are hard to deal with. This is traumatic."  

CREC does get a lot of money from the state as well as cities and towns. It's not clear if any intervention would have helped.

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